It’s always a fun experience when someone you have a connection to performs at the next level. In my world, that meant two great performances on our 6th NFL Sunday of the year. It all started in Minneapolis where Ohio University got a performance it didn’t get in Saturday’s Homecoming game. Former Bobcats star Mike Mitchell had himself a career day for the Panthers. Mitchell’s in his 5th pro season, and coming in he had a pair of interceptions and 3-1/2 sacks. He wakes up today with two more picks and another sack to add to that total. His big day came in a big win for Carolina, and we’ll see if it foreshadows big things for the Panthers’ safety.
The other one is somewhat of a hometown hero getting it done for Green Bay in Baltimore. Growing up in a small town, area sports stars are adopted by anyone living in the region. It doesn’t so much matter what school they went to, just that they are local stand outs. The list includes Ben Roethlisberger and as of this year, Astros outfielder Marc Krauss. Now, add the Packers’ Micah Hyde to the list. He was a star defensive back at Iowa, and now he’s showing his skill as a Green Bay rookie. Hyde excelled against the Ravens, finishing with six tackles along with his first sack and forced fumble.
More importantly, both players left those road games with wins for their teams.
Now, for the Quick Hits…
- The Thursday nighter was basically status quo for this season. Eli Manning added three more interceptions to his total, and Jay Cutler was efficient once again, hitting the green shoed Brandon Marshall for a pair of Chicago touchdowns. One surprise, Brandon Jacobs. The Giants back turned 49ers back up turned Giants back ran 22 times for 106 yards and a pair of scores in the loss. With David Wilson out, keep an eye on Jacobs as a Fantasy flex play.
- While the Bears held onto the top spot in the NFC North, Green Bay kept pace, outlasting Baltimore in an extremely physical game. The game may have taken a serious toll on the Packers. Starting receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb along with linebacker Nick Perry all left the game with injuries. The good news is that Perry returned to the game, while early reports from the receivers is that neither has a season ending injury.
- On the field, the Ravens played great pass defense, forcing the Packers to rely on the run game, something they haven’t been able to do in quite some time. Eddie Lacy proved Green Bay finally has a work horse back, toting the rock 23 times for 120 yards, 43 of that in the 4th Quarter. If Green Bay can rely on their rookie back going forward, the Packers become much more dangerous.
- The log jam at the top of the North continues with the Lions coming back to beat the surging Browns in Cleveland. Detroit turned a 180 in the 2nd half, particularly the 4th Quarter, erasing a 17-7 deficit for the 31-17 win. Reggie Bush, as is normally the case in Detroit these days, was the catalyst for the comeback. 119 of his 135 total yards came after the half.
- The AFC houses the only remaining undefeated teams in the league, both of them in the West Division. The Broncos were favored by 28 points against the awful Jaguars, and the NFL’s biggest spread of all time wasn’t even close to being covered. Whether from lack of interest or a good Jacksonville game plan, Peyton Manning turned the ball over three times, but Broncos still comfortably remained perfect.
- The Chiefs got a little more of a challenge before pulling away for a rivalry game win against Oakland. Kansas City did it was plenty of defense and some help from their fans. The KC crowd broke the world record for loudest crowd, reaching 137.5 decibels. The number tops the previous record, set in Week Two in Seattle. On the field, the Chiefs finished with an impressive 10 sacks, their largest total since 1998.
- What we witnessed in Foxborough was definitely improbable, but when Tom Brady’s involved what more do you expect? After losing their lead late, the Patriots were looking at a loss to the Saints, and their efforts at a comeback weren’t cause for optimism. Brady had two straight on target passes dropped for a 4-and-out drive, then he threw a first play interception the next drive. The defense held, though, giving Tom one more chance with 1:13 on the clock. 70 yards later, the Pats were winners, and everyone’s opinion of Brady changed from Zero to Hero.
- Things went from bad to worse for the Texans Sunday in a blowout loss at home to the Rams. Matt Schaub came in riding a record streak of four straight games with an interception returned for a touchdown, and ended it on the bench with an ankle injury. His back up TJ Yates took the yoke though, throwing a 98-yard pick six of his own, giving Houston a record five-straight games with that sad distinction. More importantly, after starting the year as a Super Bowl hopeful, the Texans are 2-4 and 2.5 games behind Indianapolis in the division.
- We’re starting to see a separation between the top and bottom of the NFC North. The Eagles got back to 3-3 with an impressive performance by Nick Foles. He threw for just under 300 yards and 3 touchdowns without a turnover, pulling away from the still winless Buccaneers. The Eagles’ defense is still a struggle, but they wake up today in first place.
- It’s actually a first place tie after the Cowboys bounced back from their loss against Denver with a complete performance against Washington. This week it was the defense stepping up, a welcome change after last week’s debacle on that side of the ball. The biggest concern was the losses of DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware to injuries. For Murray, it’s an MCL sprain. For Ware, a quad strain.
- The Redskins are showing signs of getting back to the team they were a year ago, but they’re still 1-4. Robert Griffin III came out running and passing in the 1st Quarter, looking a lot like the player he was before his knee injury. As the night went on, though, and the pressure up front got tougher, his passes got less and less accurate culminating in a truly horrible interception in the end zone with 5:08 remaining.
- The Bengals didn’t make it pretty but they did escape Buffalo with a win, which is a lot tougher than people think. Cincinnati’s big mistake was playing prevent defense in the 4th Quarter with a practice squad quarterback under center. Where was the pressure from that vaunted defensive line?
- The Steelers came back from their Bye Week and made the most of it, causing two turnovers (their first two of the season) and sending the Jets to 3-3. Pittsburgh has now won six straight times after their week off.
- Out West in the NFC, the Seahawks and 49ers kept pace with each other, pulling away for wins. Vernon Davis has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Colin Kaepernick in the pass game, but it was definitely on this week to the tune of 8 catches for 180 yards and 2 scores.